September 15, 2021

The Environment and Drive-Thrus: Not an Idle Concern Anymore

As the drive-thru surges again, so does the need to consider climate ramifications.

Arcady Sosinov, CEO of FreeWire Technologies, believes quick-serves are positioned to capitalize, if they think ahead. On average, people spend 25–30 minutes charging their car, he says. That’s far longer than the typical gas-station stop of 7 minutes, and, thus, a good chance for people to wrap the experience around lunch or dinner windows. Restaurants can own and operate chargers on site, he adds, which offers an additional revenue stream at minimal cost. They’ll have the option to offer free charging to increase store visits, or collect additional revenue on the charging device itself.

McDonald’s, according to Design Boom, became Sweden’s largest restaurant chain for electric car charging in 2019, with upward of 55 stations. The chain started installing posts as early as 2009. It also created unique parking signs to lead electric cars to the stations. These displays showed the current price of charging plus that of a Big Mac and Happy Meal. To the McDonald’s example, it’s a chance to boost awareness with branded stations, and restaurants can encourage return visits with loyalty programs on both car charging and menu items. Imagine, while drivers are charging, screens on chargers that showcase special food promotions available inside.

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